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We take public transit to our hotel opting to save the 60 euro taxi trip for our return to the airport a week from now.

Taking the RER into paris is exciting and I’m all eyes and ears.  As we draw closer to the city I acres and acres of graffiti.  I’m disappointed.

I had hoped that Paris of all the cities in the world that relies on beauty for it’s reputation would not be marred by such ugliness.  Pretty soon the view is no different than taking NJ Transit into Philly except that there seems to less trash along the tracks and the billboards are all in French.  I resolve to get over this quickly and decide that even though I took a bath on the exchange rate it’s only money so  I won’t worry about the cost.

The hotel is pretty cool.  The front desk clerk tries to get me to upgrade my room which then includes breakfast and free internet except that I will be paying for the internet so it’s not really free now is it?  Besides, as we later discover the lobby is loaded with free wi fi where everyone and I mean everyone congregates to check their email, facetime their kids and update their various statuses.  One for me.

A quick walk around the neighborhood to Parc Montsouris and my first honest to goodness crepes.  A fruit stand is selling all manner of fresh fruits, nectarines, pears and flat peaches.  This is a new one on me.  Flat peaches are squashed versions of a regular peach.  Are they particular to France ?  Who knows?

Back to the hotel to crash since I’ve pretty much been up all night.

Off to Luxembourg Gardens and dinner at Cafe Souflo.  I try to engage my mind reading skills at the cafe but I’m overwhelmed by the variety of life around me.  Chairs and tables at cafes are arranged like bleachers facing the street.  Our waiter is working the sidewalk crowd encouraging pedestrians to sit, eat and enjoy.

I see women in long dresses and skirts riding bicycles with aplomb.  It’s like I have fallen asleep and then awakened in an amusement park.  I don’t hear any words I understand.  The cars are all different.  The busses don’t look like busses I’m used to seeing.  Motorcycles buzzing around like bees.  People are laughing, drinking and eating all quite oblivious to the show they are providing me.

I try to process everything I’m seeing and hearing but it’s all too much.  This is why I’m here.  No one knows who I am, no one cares and I feel really, really free.